Actually, the blunt tusk of an elephant is not a very good metaphor for the basic principle of homeopathy. The sensitive nose or the strong backbone of the elephant maybe be a better choices. In any case, elephants are not aggressive animals, and homeopathy is also a very stable and strong medical system, but aggressiveness is better left to the surgeons and strong medications necessary for emergency medicine and for changes to the basic structure of the body. Homeopathy is more of an internal medicine.
The point of using the tusk image is the single basic principle of homeopathy is hard and solid. The bedrock that assures healing is the test results from trials on healthy people. These test results must be used to select your medicine out of hundreds of possibilities. Treatments that do not rely on these test results have a low possibility of predicting your response to the medicine and should not claim the name homeopathy.
The single principle that guides all homeopathic practice is called the “similum”. The following description is probably not easily understood. Each sentence needs to be taken apart and illustrated. Then, only by applying the principle can we begin to understand the far reaching consequences of the principle.
The “similum” means that the responses of test subjects who express their sensitivity to the medicine express the symptoms that we will find in sick people. “If test results from healthy people are “similar” to the symptoms of sick people, healing will result. That is, if the sick person has the same response as the healthy test subjects, then there is a high probability that that medicine will cure that sick person. The idea is that there are certain patterned responses to any medicine. The more subtle the medicine is, the more possible it is to test on healthy people who have no other health issues than a sensitivity to the medicine that they are taking. (That is why homeopathic medicines are diluted and then treated in a special way to increase their potency.) If all of the responses to a specific medicine of a number of sensitive test subjects are collected and analyzed, patterns will emerge. Those responses, one at a time, are listed in reference books. When a patient tells a homeopath the symptoms of his problem and his personal sensitivities, then the homeopath uses those reference books looking for matching symptoms. When he finds a medicine whose test results match the symptoms of the patient, he uses that medicine to heal those symptoms.
From this description, if you have the impression that test results are central to homeopathic healing, you have the basic idea. If you are being treated by a person who does not know this principle of the “similum” in depth, and does not use test results, even if that person says he is a homeopath, you should be sceptical.